Renewable advocacy groups ask Congress for transmission permitting reforms


Allowing reform debate to take place in Congress this week and debt ceiling negotiations to continue, major national renewable energy organizations sent a letter to House and Senate leaders urging passage of bipartisan transfer authorization legislation that builds on the clean energy transition policies included in the Inflation Reduction Act. on .

“Research shows that we need to double the historic transmission deployment rate to maximize the carbon emission reduction benefits of this historic legislation,” the groups explained in the letter. “These reforms are essential to realizing the 21st century transmission grid America needs to strengthen economic competitiveness, ensure grid reliability in the face of frequent weather events, and achieve the clean energy transition needed to address the climate crisis.”

The American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE), Advanced Energy United (USA), and the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) are proposing reforms to the Federal Energy Act that:

  • Increase the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s (FERC) authority over critical interstate transmission lines;
  • Codify equitable cost-sharing language that allows transmission developers to recover the costs of interregional lines from beneficiaries and to allow appropriate petitions to be filed with FERC;
  • Improve interregional planning processes to better reflect the multiple benefits of an interconnected network; and:
  • Direct FERC to implement an interregional transmission capability requirement to ensure that contiguous transmission planning regions are able to transmit electricity during times of stress on the grid.

Renewable energy organizations are also urging Congress to consider policies that modernize the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) revisions while maintaining cornerstone environmental protections. These include reforms that:

  • Prioritize early and meaningful stakeholder consultation, especially with disadvantaged communities
  • Provide reasonable timeframes for environmental impact statements and environmental assessments
  • Designation of a lead agency to be responsible for a single environmental document
  • Establish a reasonable statute of limitations for judicial review
  • Provide sufficient resources for permitting agencies

Any negotiated framework for environmental review should also include required reporting and permitting reform, the groups added, noting that they oppose any effort to separate these two important topics.

News from ACORE!

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